Bogota Colombia The Patagonia Travel Travel Insurance

The Last Flight Out

I was in Bogota Columbia and had just ordered my lunch at the Albahaca Restaurante, it was 1 PM Thursday, March 19th. While I was waiting for my food I took out my cell and opened the NY Times app which headlined the US government advised that all US Citizens should return home immediately or be prepared to stay where they were overseas indefinitely. Wow! Next, I called my friend Marc who works in the American consulate in Juarez Mexico and asked him what was happening and his only answer was for me to leave immediately for home.

My original return flight back to New York was on April 7 with American Airlines. When I called AA to re-book the flight I went right into a hold and when I tried their website it was not functioning. Chase Travel who booked a flight for me put me on indefinite hold also and was not much help either.

What am I supposed to do, wait?

Bogota International Airport

It was smart to move that fast and I was very lucky to make it home before everything shut down. From my understanding, the Bogota airport closed Thursday, March 19th at midnight which was three hours after I departed. JFK closed March 20th.

My travel insurance company will not pay for anything, not the new return flight home, not for the Bogota rent that I paid in advance, nor the food I left in the refrigerator in Bogota, nada nothing. American Airlines told me yesterday April 18, 2020, that they will refund me 15 dollars for the canceled return flight from Bogota to Miami to JFK which originally cost over eight hundred dollars.

The point is that for 2 days I had to completely rely on myself with no support or assistance from any of the airlines, travel agents, backup or insurance systems I had in place. I paid through the nose for everything and when push comes to shove the people I engaged and who were supposed to look out or assist me did not answer the phone.

Note, eventually my return ticket on American Airlines was refunded to me.

By Peter Geoghan

Adventurer with doubts who self-guides his own fly fishing trips to Chile and Argentina. I am from New York City but last lived in the lovely Catskills, the land of bright trout, many reservoirs, rivers, streams, and creeks. Please email me at

2 replies on “The Last Flight Out”

Hey Old Timer, You learned a lesson many travelers already know. Lucky you got out but looking through your blog a lot of what you say is out dated and should be written over. From your shot you are easily twice my age. I know I am healthy and strong. Even I would not travel without a buddy. Two together can share expenses and divide some risks.. Covid-19 and all the unrest in the world could have left you sick with covid and subpar care or kidnapped, robbed and beaten. You do not look like you would be hard to overtake. I pray you are not making a foolhardy plan to go to S.A. now. Even Alaska is riddled with crime and Covid. Sit with your wife on rockers on your porch and forget about adventures as you now past your prime.
All respect, Al Use your time to update your inadequate information.

Al, thank you for the advice. I am not making a trip to Chile or Columbia this year too, its sad as I love Patagonia.

Patagonia is very safe and has hardly any crime, besides when I am there, I am either way out in the campo or staying in a small town a pueblo pequeno. I spent my days by the rivers, fishing, and walking along backcountry roads to get to prime spots.

At the end of the month, I will head out to California to visit a friend in Mariposa, then to Santa Cruz, then to Bisbee, Arizona, for a few weeks. I am more concerned about that drive than a visit to pre covid Bogota.

What is that bit about the old timer.

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